On the road again

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Over the past two months I have been “on the road again,” reminding me of one of my favorite Willie Nelson songs. This road trip has been a rewarding experience because of the knowledge I’ve acquired and the friends I’ve met. It’s been a privilege to talk to fleet owners at trade events and association meetings, both at the national and state level.

When I listen to you and your peers exchange information about many of the same problems, I am in awe at the vast amount of collective knowledge in this industry. You face challenges common to all businesses – such as insurance costs, effects of the global economy – as well as challenges unique to transportation like a shortage of drivers and fluctuating fuel prices. I am impressed at how adept industry executives, as well as our own editors, are at understanding and analyzing the critical make-or-break issues.

Tackling the big issues in a clear and logical format is one of the goals of CCJ’s Commercial Carrier University. During our CCU program at the TCA Refrigerated Meeting last month, the topic was driver incentive programs – especially for fuel. Several carriers shared their incentive ideas, but others no longer use incentives for various reasons. And still others take a completely different approach and rely on equipment spec’ing – using devices that reduce the need for idling, for example – to do most of the fuel-saving legwork.

It was a lively discussion that the participants appreciated. I also heard a lot of appreciation for what we try to achieve with the CCU program, taking it on the road again. Most of the compliments come from recognizing that the answers are all there – it’s providing the structure and format to get everyone together to brainstorm solutions that’s so valuable.

But while sharing solutions among peers is part of CCU, the program is so much more. We now have six “how-to” manuals that discuss cash flow management, financial statements, lifecycle costing, driver recruitment and retention, business plans and succession planning. The text of these manuals is available at this site. And in addition to roundtable discussions, some of our CCU sessions feature presentations from subject-matter experts.

So join us as CCU hits the road again. Our next seminar addresses recruiting independent contractors and will be held in conjunction with the TCA Independent Contractor Meeting in Chicago Oct. 6-7.

We’ll see you there.